Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wild, Wonderful Wegmans

I had the pleasure of visiting yet another Wegmans store just last week, and boy, do I love that place! For those of you who don't yet know of my obsession with the grocery store, let me fill you in.

Wegmans is a grocery store chain located in the North East (their headquarters is in NY state). They have an amazing prepared foods sections, rockin' bakery, and their cheese and produce is really unbeatable. I have visited stores in State College, PA (that one was a bus trip; I kid you not); Wilkes Barre, PA; Dulles, VA; and most recently in Hunt Valley, MD. What makes the Dulles store stand out of course is their amazing wine selection (I LOVE shopping in Virginia), but each store is consistent not only with great food (and the prices are pretty reasonable), but great customer service as well.

One of my favorite things to do is attack the cheese counter full force. Now any good cheese monger will allow you a taste of any cheese that you are interested in purchasing. The pleasure here is that I did this with 9 cheeses. Don't think I was trying to get a free lunch here, I purchased each cheese, but it was so cool to be able to taste each and speak with someone knowledgeable about the products. Here's where Wegmans stands out; after tasting each cheese, the cheese monger re-packaged and then re-priced each hunk. I didn't pay a thing for my samples. It's a little thing, but in these days of nickel & diming, it was a nice touch I appreciated.

When I was in the Hunt Valley store last week, my mom, daughter and I had a fantastic lunch in their upper balcony area (really, upper balcony in a grocery store!). The only problem is that it usually costs me a fortune because we see so many things we want to try. We probably all had the equivalent of 2 lunches each because of the fresh fruit, fresh sushi (it's good too!), Chinese food bar, salads, and the bakery. Wow! As we were taking the elevator up, there was an older gentleman nice enough to hold the doors for us. After a quick conversation that lasted beyond our elevator trip, I found out that he and his wife come to Wegmans every Sunday. She shops and he brings a portable tv, gets a snack, and watches football. Every Sunday since the second week that store opened 2 years ago. He was happy as a clam and almost evangelical about the whole thing.

So Why do I bring all of this up? Well, rumor has it (as does the Wegmans website http://www.wegmans.com/) that Frederick is getting a store of our very own. I heard a lot of buzz a year of so ago and have heard nothing since. As far as I know, they're planning to go into what is now some vacant land between Rt. 15 & Rt. 26. I've done a little research and found out that the store is being held up because there were water problems in the county and all commercial building was halted until they could get a handle on it. The good news is that the water issues are resolved and they're ready to go. There's only one problem: This store will be on a list with a bunch of other potential projects.

Here's what I propose: Let's get a letter writing campaign (or even email if that works best for you!) going and start sending letters to our aldermen asking that they give this project priority. If I understand correctly, the site needs to be annexed into the city and once that's done they can get rolling. It will take about 2 years until the store is finally open, and I'm getting tired of driving to Dulles.


If you've been to a Wegmans, write me a comment so that I can see what you think!

19 comments:

Proud Geek said...

I love Wegman's, and I'm really, really hoping that Frederick does get one. I've only (!) visited two -- one in Niagara Falls and one in Rochester. Both times felt like an excursion, with all those tantalizing dishes. Would love to live close to one.

Chef Christine said...

Woo hoo! Don't forget to write that letter or send that email to one of the aldermen. Here are the email addresses:

mhall@cityoffrederick.com, dkoontz@cityoffrederick.com, aimhoff@cityoffrederick.com, psmith@cityoffrederick.com, dkuzemchak@cityoffrederick.com

I really do think it makes a difference!

MJP said...

Wegman's Rocks! I've been to the Dulles and Hunt Valley stores. I happen to know someone who works for Wegman's setting up and opening new stores. He told me about the Frederick store a few years ago but said it would be a while. People who haven't been think I'm crazy to drive from Frederick to Hunt Valley for groceries, oh well, their loss.
(The Frederick store may be a while but I hear Columbia should be soon)

Chef Christine said...

Sounds like there's a road trip in our future! Don't forget to send an email to those aldermen!

Ross said...

I love Wegman's too. I understand that it's the number one shopping destination for award-winning bloggers.

P.S. You're a great TV personality. I saw you on the local channel making some rice dish. See you at the next M.I.T.I.B.I.

Chef Christine said...

Thanks Ross! Award-winning bloggers LOVE to shop at Wegmans. I've hit the new one in Mechanicsburg, PA twice this week so far. The fruit tart is ridiculous!

And thanks for the compliment on my grand tv experiment! Hope to see you and/or M soon!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I just want to say thanks for all the great things that you have said about Wegmans! I'm a Wegmans employee (I make subs and coffee) in upstate NY. I've been working there for 6 years and it makes me feel really good to hear when people appreciate all of the things we try to do!

While I'm still in college, I'm seriously considering staying with the company after I graduate and trying to work there full-time. I can't imagine being anywhere else!

Jon said...

I know I'm late to this party, but I just stumbled across this posting while looking for an update on the Frederick Wegmans. I grew up in Western NY. I left in 1993 and lived in Central PA for about 5 years and then moved to Frederick. For those of you who have been to one of the "local" Wegmans, you can see why I went through withdrawl the first time I stepped into a supermarket down here. Growing up with Wegmans, and another local WNY supermarket chain "Tops", one starts to believe that all supermarkets must be the same way. Well, having had to shop at Food Lion and Weis for the last 15 years has made me truly appreciate Wegmans! It's hard to find quality produce, meats... even finding certain spices has been a chore. All that will change when Wegmans comes to town! Plus I've heard that they'll carry certain local WNY brands that I grew up with and miss... Miller's Horseradish, Sahlen's Hot Dogs, Bison chip dip. If they make fresh kimmelweck rolls, I'll be in heaven. So, in short, I can't wait for the Frederick Wegmans!

As far as I can tell, they have approved the annexation and we should see movement soon. Although the Wegmans website still says TBD, I've seen Mid-2009 as the target date. Here's hoping that's accurate!!!

Jon said...

Update: I just ran across this article. It was written in August and states that the annexation hasn't been approved, but that it's been moved to the first round of annexation approvals, and confirms mid-2009 assuming the annexation is approved.

http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=25&sid=1458194

Chef Christine said...

Welcome Jon! Anyone writing about the much-lauded Wegman's is welcome here! I am a huge fan of this store and think I always will be. I'm guessing that they're going for approval in early 2009 and then opening in 2010, but like I said, I'm GUESSING. It will take a while once they finally break ground. Maybe we should have a toast there that day...what do you think?

Jon said...

I'm all for it. We could have a meet & greet of Wegmans fans!

Jon said...

Here's another reason to love Wegman's!!

http://www.buffalonews.com/145/story/542134.html

Chef Christine said...

My man, I think you may be obsessed (not that there's anything wrong with that!)! Giant Food Stores are also giving away free antibiotics this winter. Seems like a pretty good idea to me.

FYI - I'm headed to Wegman's in Mechnicsburg (my hometown) this weekend. I swear that sometimes I visit my mom just so we can go to Wegman's and get the darn creamy shrimp from the Chinese food bar. Darn it all to heck...I love those greasy little buggers (mom too!)!

MD said...

I CAN NOT WAIT ANY LONGER!!! I am a former employee originating from Upstate NY and was estactic to finally hear it was approved in December. I don't think the store will open in 2009 as ones are already slated for their openings, but I'm sure 2010 is the plan(now that the most time consuming part is out of the way). As soon as a date is released I am going to buy a calendar for the sole purpose of counting down the days!

Jon said...

I freely admit it... I'm obsessed. All you have to do is shop at a Wegmans and then shop at a Food Lion to know why. But you already know :-)

I didn't know there was one in Mechanicsburg. We used to live in Carlisle, and still get up there from time to time. I'll have to swing by the Wegmans there next time we're in town. And I'll be in Buffalo in February and will get my fix while I'm there.

To MD, I'm glad to hear that the annexation was finally approved. I hadn't heard that yet. It seems it's just a matter of time now.

MJP said...

The "coming soon" sign is up on Rt 26. Now I'm going to be thinking about it daily even though it still probably more than a year out!

Chef Christine said...

2011 from what I understand, but if Leesburg isn't open yet (think wine my friend, think wine!), it should be soon.

Super big yippee that it's finally on the horizon! We love Wegmans!

Anonymous said...

When I finally saw the sign along 26 stating "Coming Soon," I screamed, "Yay! Wegmans!" My husband was driving & swears I sounded like a little kid spotting Santa Claus in December. He's a Rochester native and introduced me to Wegmans many years ago... I am so excited & my friends who've never been to a Wegmans can't understand why I'm so crazy about a grocery store. Everything from quality to customer service to spotless restrooms -- a real plus for moms of young kids! AND it is consistantly in the top 10 of Fortune's "Top 100 Companies to Work For" -- another reason to love that store.

Jon said...

I, too, recently saw the "Coming Soon" sign. I am absolutely giddy that this is finally happening. Frederick County has just been officially upgraded from "the place I live" to "home".